Trying to Get Across NYC Streets!


Sometimes I feel like Katniss in Hunger Games when I’m trying to get around NYC.  One particular challenge is negotiating the city’s streets–especially at night and when they are the city’s major avenues.

Let’s take Broadway, for instance.  It’s idiosyncratically off-the-grid and slices through many of the city’s streets, and even an avenue or two, in ways that certainly perplexes tourists and often the occasional New Yorker.  It’s quite wide in some sections of the Upper West Side, in particular, but the countdown pedestrian signals were obviously calibrated by an Olympic sprinter working in the Department of Transportation.  And I’m not even slowed down by a cane or a walker.

Apart from my concern about whether I’ll reach the safety of the opposite sidewalk before getting mowed down by an 18-wheeler truck careening down the avenue at speeds well above the mandated 25 mph, is my fear whether I’m visible as a pedestrian if I get stuck somewhere in the middle.

So I’m trying to wear as much white as possible, which makes me look as though I’ve joined a cult.  Maybe I should start carrying a bow and arrow like Katniss to look more formidable.  If nothing else they’d slow down for a good laugh.

Speeding bikes, turning vehicles and sidewalk cracks! Oh my!

Speeding bikes, turning vehicles and sidewalk cracks! Oh my!

I recently met a group of friends for dinner.  Several reported on incidents where they’d fallen on sidewalks.  The villain for one was a manhole cover that wasn’t flush with the pavement.  Another caught her shoe on a crack in the sidewalk.  As a consequence, both were dealing with dislocated shoulders and weeks of physical therapy.

Another friend slid on a wet manhole cover last winter and broke her wrist.  Someone else was run down by a bicyclist and had a broken shoulder. My dental hygienist walks with a permanent limp from having been hit by a turning taxi.  A college classmate was hit by a turning car but, luckily, came through the experience with no permanent physical consequences.  She’s a bit traumatized, however, every time she has to cross the street.

What should we do about protecting ourselves from these mishaps?

I strongly urge you to donate any black coat or jacket to a charity and buy a new one that’s a light color, or, if you can’t do that, wear a light-colored hat. Or think about slathering your outwear in reflective tape.  Never walk and look at your phone!  Also, try to not focus on the ground below but instead be looking a few feet ahead.

And good luck to us all!